This Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) award provides funding for the acquisition of a Nano-Indenter to improve the nanoscale materials testing and characterization capabilities at the University of Wyoming. The nano-indenter remains one of the few mechanical testing systems that can characterize small-scale materials and components. There are many fundamental research areas of transformative character that a nano-indenter enables to explore. At the University of Wyoming (UW) the specific research activities that will be enabled with the acquisition of the nano-indenter system are quite diverse which also reflects the different backgrounds of the principal investigators in chemical and mechanical engineering. The research activities include (a) size dependent deformation of polymers, (b) synthesis and mechanical characterization of CO2 sorbent materials and (c) encapsulated nanoparticles for drug delivery, as well as (d) collaborative research on small-scale material systems and components which is conducted in a combined experimental and theoretical/simulation based investigation. These research activities represent original research that is or has great potential to be of transformative character. The proposal activities that are enabled with the nano-indenter investigate both fundamental as well as practical aspects that are of direct societal relevance.
This nano-indenter complements the research infrastructure and significantly enhances ongoing and future research and will fill a missing gap between mechanical testing/characterization and chemical and optical/dimensional analysis equipment already available at UW. Nanotechnology is one of the core strategic research areas at UW and involves multiple academic disciplines working towards a wide range of applications. Many faculty members will be using the instrument from various academic departments at UW including chemistry, physics and chemical, civil, mechanical engineering. The nano-indenter will further promote and develop collaborations across these disciplines. Besides improving the research infrastructure the nano-indenter will also enhance the training infrastructure for nanotechnology and materials at UW. The associated investigators are involved in projects with (i) engineering undergraduate/graduate students of which many are female students, (ii) dissemination of nanotechnologies for energy production and environmental protection in rural areas of Wyoming, and (iii) mentorships of prospective students with disabilities. In all these activities the equipment has an integrated part in providing hands-on experiences to nanotechnology and will enhance the ability of the involved faculty to promote the interest in engineering and science programs and science in general to the students of Wyoming.
Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE There were many research activities that were enabled with the acquisition of the nano-indenter including length scale dependent deformation mechanisms in polymers and metals as well as testing of biological and bio-medical materials. Many of these research activities are still in the exploratory state while a few concrete research results have already been obtained which resulted in several research articles. For all these research activities the nano-indenter system had been essential to be able to mechanically test materials at small sizes and volumes. Parts of the results of the research activities have been already disseminated by presentations at conferences, journal article publications, and invited lectures. It is expected that the research activities in the future will only intensify as more graduate students become familiar with the instrument and as the instrument enabled some preliminary research results which led to another major National Science Foundation research grant of one of the principal investigators of this acquisition grant. The nano-indenter is an important tool for mechanical testing and characterization at small length scales that has complemented the research infrastructure at the University of Wyoming, and significantly enhanced the research on materials and nanotechnology. The nano-indenter has been made available to all researchers at the UW and fills a gap between mechanical testing/characterization and chemical and optical/dimensional analysis equipment available at the UW. Nanotechnology is one of the core strategic research areas of the University of Wyoming and involves multiple academic disciplines working towards a wide range of applications. The availability of the nano-indenter enabled discussion and collaboration between various disciplines particularly between mechanical and chemical engineering. Besides improving the research infrastructure the nano-indenter system has also enhanced the training infrastructure related to nanotechnology and materials at the University of Wyoming. More than 10 graduate students and several undergraduate students have been trained on the nano-indenter. The nano-indenter has been an integrated part in out-reach activities as well as in formal class settings.